Chronic pancreatitis is a fibroinflammatory disease of the pancreas. Etiologically, most cases are related to alcohol abuse and smoking. Recently, gene mutations have been identified as the cause of hereditary pancreatitis. Other chronic pancreatitis types that were defined in recent years are autoimmune pancreatitis (lymphoplasmacytic sclerosing pancreatitis) and paraduodenal pancreatitis ('groove pancreatitis', 'cystic dystrophy of heterotopic pancreas'). This review describes and discusses the main histological findings, the pathogenesis and the clinical features of the various types of chronic pancreatitis. In addition, pseudotumors and other tumor-like lesions are briefly mentioned.